HC Deb 17 July 2000 vol 354 cc34-72

7.—(l) The proceedings on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business) shall apply to those proceedings.

(2) If at the sitting this day the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the time at which proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under paragraph 1, no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

This is a guillotine motion. The House will acknowledge that such motions are to be avoided wherever possible, but it is accepted on all sides that they are sometimes inevitable. I hope that there will not be too much trade across the Chamber about this Government's record on guillotine motions, but I remind the House that, in 1988–89, 17 Bills were guillotined by the Conservative Administration, at a time when that Government had a majority of well over 100.

It happens that one of those Bills was the Football Spectators Bill, for which the guillotine motion was moved exactly 11 years ago today, on 17 July 1989. It was moved by Mr. John Wakeham, now Lord Wakeham, in terms remarkably similar to the case that I have put before the House for the need for this business to proceed as quickly as possible.

However, within the imperative that the business for the rest of the week, including that for tomorrow, has to be protected, the Government are anxious to proceed by agreement. The burden of the amendments shortly to be moved by the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young) is that the Committee stage should end at 12 midnight, and that all other Commons stages should end by 5 am. I am pleased to tell the House that the Government will be ready to accept the amendments.

It may also help the House in judging whether the motion, as amended, allows sufficient time for debate, if I say how we intend to deal with some of the principal issues raised by the amendments that will come before us. I promised in the statement that I made almost two weeks ago, on 4 July, that I and the Government would listen carefully to all representations made about the draft Bill and then about the Bill as introduced, and that we would respond positively wherever we could.

The House will know already that I responded positively to two suggestions made about the pre-legislative draft by Lord Ackner and Lord Alexander of Weedon. Lord Ackner proposed that reasons given at the point of a direction being made to require an individual to attend a court under the fourth part of the Bill should be given in writing. Lord Alexander of Weedon proposed that the Bill should contain a sunset clause and that there should be a process for reviewing the legislation. Both proposals were worked into the Bill on presentation.

I deal briefly with the other amendments, to indicate the changes that I am ready to accept, which will be obvious to those who have read through the Order Paper. Considerable concern was expressed by right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House in respect of the key police power, in the fourth part of the Bill. There was concern about whether the powers given to the police to detain people for inquiries and then to direct them into court were too wide.

We have considered the provisions again in the light of the representations and the amendments which have been tabled. The criteria which are now before the House, contained in amendments Nos. 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46, seek essentially to replicate the grounds for detention and arrest, which are already provided, and have been accepted by successive Governments and Oppositions, in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. In the place of a power giving a constable a right to exercise those powers under proposed new section 21 A in schedule 1 to the Bill, if it appears to him that the behaviour of the person present before him is such that he may be a candidate for a banning order, amendment No. 42 now requires that the constable in uniform has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the condition in section 14B(2)— that the person has been involved in violence and disorder—has been met. He must also have reasonable grounds for believing that a banning order in the person's case would help to prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with any regulated football matches. The PACE power is a much more constrained power, which we propose, subject to the will of the House, to insert in the Bill.

Concern was also expressed about the fact that it seems from the Bill that a police officer might hold an individual for questioning, with a view to making inquiries, for 24 hours. Under further amendments that we have tabled, the power to hold someone for questioning to find out whether there are reasonable grounds for a direction to be made to get someone into court is reduced from 24 hours to four hours, with an extension to a maximum of six hours when an inspector agrees. That period must be contained within the overall period of 24 hours specified in the Bill.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

As the Home Secretary will anticipate, the amendments are welcome. However, given that they are being tabled now, in Committee, to a Bill that has already been published, does that mean that the original Bill was bad law or bad drafting?

Madam Speaker

Order. I have been getting the impression from what the Home Secretary has been saying that he is going into the details of the Bill and not simply dealing with the allocation of time motion. I hope that he will be very careful on that point.

Mr. Straw

Indeed; I fully acknowledge your point, Madam Speaker, as ever.

I was seeking to reassure the House, given the position that the Government are taking on a series of amendments, that there would be sufficient time under the timetable motion, as amended. Had the Government intended not to make any amendments to the Bill to meet the will of the House, as expressed in debates last Thursday and outside the House, there might have been a different argument for extra time to be allocated. That is why I felt that it might be helpful—I will be very brief, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Thank you—I think that we understand that now.

Mr. Straw

If I may conclude my point, the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Sir N. Lye11) has tabled amendments to the powers contained in proposed new sections 21C and 14C on criminal law in this country or outside. We propose to accept those amendments. We propose to accept amendment No. 37, in the name of the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe), on the need for a written explanation for a decision to detain a person to make inquiries, and amendment No. 32. We have also put down amendments on Report which accept the burden of amendments Nos. 23, 3 and 5.

Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

In view of the number of amendments that the Home Secretary has, very properly, brought before the House today, may I take him back to his original statement, when I asked him whether, in organising the time available for the Bill, he would allow time for outside authorities to consider the changes? In other words, we want a gap—even the smallest of gaps—between Committee and Report so that we can take advice before giving the Bill its final consideration.

Mr. Straw

We took account of representations made about the need for a gap between Second Reading and Committee and Report. That is exactly what we provided. The whole House—[Interruption.] I think that the whole House accepted the case for proceeding speedily with the Bill. That was certainly the view of the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) in his speech of 22 June. He offered full support and co-operation in Parliament to Government legislation to do what the Bill provides for. We are meeting our obligation to introduce that legislation, and I hope that Conservative Members will accept the obligations made on their behalf by their leader.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)

indicated dissent.

Mr. Straw

I should not suggest for a second that the Leader of the Opposition has any control over the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth). Indeed, I shall be happy to ensure that the right hon. Gentleman's constituency association is told about the insult that I apparently caused him by suggesting that he ever follows his leader. I shall personally write to his association to that effect.

Let me deal with the point made by the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis). I said from the start that there was a need for speed with this Bill, but that it had to be combined with the need for care. The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) cannot have it both ways—

Mr. Davis

He is a Liberal.

Mr. Straw

Perhaps I should rephrase my point. Those who try to have it both ways end up in pretty incredible positions—[Interruption.] It is lucky that I am deaf in one ear. The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey cannot call for an inclusive process by which legislation is set before the House in early preliminary draft form while also suggesting that the Government should have brought proposals to the House that we would unswervingly refuse to change.

During my time as Home Secretary, every Bill that I have introduced has been improved by debate and discussion. I happen to hold the perhaps slightly old-fashioned view that the collective wisdom of the House and the other place is greater than the individual wisdom of a Secretary of State for the Home Department, even one like me. I am grateful to the House for its positive suggestions.

Mr. Forth

I am grateful for the Home Secretary's kind remarks, which I much appreciated. Is he prepared to distinguish between the alleged necessity for a Bill such as this to be passed quickly and the entirely artificial deadline of a football match? It has been claimed that that match creates the need for us to act with unseemly haste, but a distinction can surely be drawn—even in the Home Secretary's mind—between the need for properly expedited parliamentary process and the utter collapse of that process just so that we can meet the artificially imposed deadline of a football match.

Mr. Straw

I happen not to think that the deadline of a football match is an artificially imposed one. It happens to be a reality. If there were not to be any international games of note during the next six months, the House could debate the matter more slowly. It is significant, however, that one of the main reasons advanced by the then Mr. John Wakeham in favour of a guillotine motion on 17 July 1989 was the imperative of having provisions on football spectators on the statute book because of impending international games.

The views of the Leader of the Opposition may not persuade the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, but they should persuade one or two other Conservative Members. The right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks, in offering full support and co-operation in Parliament for Government legislation, made the point, among others, that England's qualifying matches for the next world cup are only months away. As a consequence of debates that we have had and that we will have today, the Bill should be able to go to the other place in good order, and it will be up to the other place to do its job as a revising chamber.

Mr. Simon Hughes

On the guillotine motion, I accept the Home Secretary's assurance that he has tried to ensure that he listens to the House and to colleagues. I am grateful for that.

Given that point, why did the Government not accept the proposition on the guillotine put by my hon. Friend hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler), our Chief Whip, and others, that we take the Committee stage today, allowing Members time to study amendments—including Government amendments—that appeared only today, and take the remaining stages on Wednesday? That would still leave reasonable time to complete proceedings on the measure before both Houses rise for the summer recess.

Mr. Straw

That is a matter for the usual channels to sort out. We wanted to accommodate the official Opposition by agreeing to an amendment today. My understanding was that the period was the maximum possible to allow the Bill to be considered in the other place, subject to its procedures, leaving time for it to return to this place for any changes. I think that is the view taken by the usual channels.

Mr. Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Will my right hon. Friend point out to the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) who has referred to "a football match" that we are not discussing people who will be going to a football match? Six weeks on Saturday, hundreds of them will travel to Paris—a journey of three hours on Eurostar or of six hours in an old van with dozens piled into it. They will be going simply to try to wreck the city. They are not interested in football; they will have no tickets. The right hon. Gentleman is not even listening to the debate. He should understand that the matter is nothing to do with football—an invading, marauding army will be out to smash up Paris, denigrating the name of this country. That is the reason for the haste.

Mr. Straw

I accept my hon. Friend's comments, although I do not think there is a fine line between haste and speed. I have tried not to be hasty in this legislation, but to ensure that we deal with it both speedily and carefully.

If Members reflect on the measure, they will realise that a large part of it is uncontroversial. It consolidates provisions on national domestic and international banning orders and combines them. The parts that have caused controversy and given rise to concerns from some but not all right hon. and hon. Members are relatively few—although they are important. If hon. Members accept that, and reflect on the time that I have devoted to consultations outside the Chamber with Members of both Houses and in this House, they will realise that, by the time our proceedings are concluded later tonight, we shall have given almost as much time to the key operative clauses that aroused controversy as would have been spent on them had the Bill been dealt with more slowly. It is in that context that the guillotine motion, which will be amended, I hope by agreement, provides sufficient time for Members to consider this important matter and to come to conclusions on it.

4.28 pm
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the motion, in paragraph 1(2), leave out from "conclusion" to end of sentence and insert "at midnight".

Madam Speaker

With this, we may take the following amendment: in paragraph 1(4), leave out from "Consideration" to end of paragraph 1(5) and insert— and on Third Reading shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 5 am on 18th July".

Sir George Young

The House is entitled to a brief explanation of why the Opposition are amending a guillotine motion tabled by the Government. Such motions underline the difficulties of trying to programme all our debates and to place rigid barriers around them. Not only are the traditional ways of handling our proceedings more flexible, but they ensure that the time available is spent on the issues and not on—sometimes— controversial procedural motions that prevent hon. Members from speaking. Furthermore, the original motion shows the time scale that the Government think suitable for timetabled Bills—four hours for the remaining stages of a controversial Bill gives a preview of a rather restricted regime.

Last Wednesday, in a business statement, the Leader of the House announced that, on Thursday, the House would debate the Second Reading of the Bill after 7 pm. In response to a question from me, she said that she would not guillotine the Bill's Second Reading. In the event, the proceedings on Thursday evening were concluded after a reasonable period of debate, given the controversial nature of the Bill. Although I asked her about the arrangements for the remaining stages, she did not reply but referred to the usual business statement that she would make the following day.

On Thursday, the Leader of the House announced the business for Monday as the remaining stages of the Bill, but she did not mention a timetable motion. Here we have to shine a torch on the subterranean world of the usual channels. On Thursday morning, we indicated that there was a good chance of concluding discussions on Monday after nine or 10 hours of debate. Our usual channel was reasonably confident of delivering on that and, by and large, we have a good record of delivering on such undertakings. We also believed that that offer would be acceptable to the Government, who would get their Bill on Monday night if the House so decided but without the aggravation of a time-consuming guillotine motion on a Bill that raises important issues.

There was then a communication failure, and a guillotine motion was tabled by the Government to bring discussion to an end by about 11 pm. Not only would that allow inadequate time to debate the Bill, but up to three hours would be lost in debating the motion. The Government, I believe, accept that they were wrong to table the motion and were anxious to revert to an informal arrangement.

The obvious way to resolve the problem would have been for the Government not to move the guillotine motion, but to suspend the 10 o'clock rule in the usual way. Discussion could then have proceeded normally. However, procedurally, that cannot be done—and some hon. Members can explain that better than I can. As the Government have not tabled a routine motion to suspend the 10 o'clock rule, the only way that the 10 o'clock rule can be suspended is if the guillotine motion is moved.

The way to get the Government out of the difficulties in which they find themselves and to allow the House reasonable time for debate is for the Opposition to amend the guillotine motion to allow for the amount of time that on Thursday we thought was reasonable. That is exactly what we have done. We have proposed that the Committee stage end at midnight and that the remaining stages—Report and Third Reading—end at 5 o'clock in the morning.

I hope that the House understands roughly what has happened even if it remains a mystery to most of the rest of the world. I hope that our amendments will be accepted.

4.32 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

Let me first deal with the issue of the usual channels. My hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler), who is the usual channel for the Liberal Democrats for these purposes, made our position clear when he intervened on business questions on Thursday. Nothing underhand or behind the scenes went on. From the beginning, we have taken the simple view that we should have a proper Second Reading debate that was not guillotined—that was achieved—that we should have the Committee stage on one day and that there should be a further day between Committee and the remaining stages of Report and Third Reading. For reasons that I gave when I intervened on the Home Secretary, we made that case not just so that the House would have time to reflect on what it had done in Committee, but so that people outside the House—the Football Association, football clubs, proper football supporters, civil liberties groups, lawyers and ordinary people who take an interest in such matters and who read the newspapers that comment on them—could submit a view to us or to colleagues in the House.

Two propositions are before us and both, in any logical world, are unacceptable. The first is that we have a seven-hour straitjacket: three hours for discussions on how long the debate should be; two hours for the Committee stage in which to debate 46 amendments of which 15 appeared on the amendment paper for the first time today and of which five are the Government amendments that the Home Secretary mentioned a moment ago; one hour for Report—how one would table amendments between Committee and Report is a mystery—and one hour for Third Reading. Under that proposition, debate would run from about 4 pm to 11 pm., and it is not satisfactory because the whole debate would be held on one day.

In a strange, paradoxical, Alice-in-Wonderland and upside-down world, I suppose that we should be grateful for the amendment tabled by the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young), the shadow Leader of the House. That says that the Committee stage will take place until midnight and that Report and Third Reading will go on until 5 o'clock. In a sane legislature, one would not imagine that at midnight—after having heard the Committee stage—the Football Association, football clubs, newspaper readers, our constituents or ordinary people will suddenly get out of their beds and phone in their ideas so that we can table, without debate being interrupted, our amendments for Report even if we could get them in on time. Those people would then sit happily, as we sit happily until 5 o'clock in the morning, as a sane Parliament introduces at sane hours a sane piece of legislation.

I understand why the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) and the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire have tabled their amendment which, however, is barely more sane than the original proposition and is certainly not as sensible as the proposal that we should have Committee stage today, take a breather and think about what we were doing, before coming back on Wednesday.

Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

I apologise for intervening on the hon. Gentleman. I did not get an answer from the Home Secretary when I asked about this matter. The hon. Gentleman, however, did and was told that this action had to be taken to fit with Lords procedure and get the Bill back to us in time. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, rather than try to do this so quickly, a better procedure would be to extend our sitting into August for a couple of days?

Mr. Hughes

The direct answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question is yes. It is clearly logical that Parliament should seek to complete its normal business before we go on holiday than determine its business by when we fix our holidays. Again, that is an upside-down world. Most people who run a private business do not choose when to take their holidays and then decide to disappear and leave the business, even if they have to carry out a major contract.

To be fair, the Home Secretary did not say absolutely that the suggested arrangement was impossible, but he was wrong to imply that it was, as the other place proposes to have Second Reading on Thursday and will have Committee stage next Monday, allowing time for reflection, before having Report stage and Third Reading next Wednesday. The Lords have therefore allowed days between Second Reading and Committee stage, and between Committee stage and remaining stages. Under present proposals, they plan to finish their consideration of the Bill next Wednesday night, which allows both Houses two days in which to undertake whatever backwards and forwards performance is necessary to achieve our aim. It would therefore be possible to debate the Bill on Wednesday, and it could go to the Lords the same day. All that would happen would be that the printers would have to work through the night, which they do anyway.

Mr. Humfrey Malins (Woking)

I very much agree with the thrust of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. As an experienced parliamentarian, he may be able to help me, as I simply have no idea how any of us can table any amendments after the Bill's Committee stage. For example, I do not know whether I am meant to table them in manuscript, and do not know to whom I should hand them, how they will be selected and how much time I will be given. Does the hon. Gentleman have a view on that?

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Gentleman is right, as there is no technically possible way of doing that, which is another nonsense. I do not understand why we are still behaving like this as we go into the new millennium.

Like me, the hon. Gentleman has been here long enough to realise that some of us have argued about such matters, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) who has debated them for many years. If the idea is to have a Committee stage, which is supposed to mean that a few people look at the matter in detail, and to which I shall come back in a second, followed by a Report stage, when all Members of the House, especially those who did not participate in the detailed consideration, can come back and have a look at the Bill, then logic should be that we have a little time in between, so that the work of the Committee can be shared for the benefit of those who have come for Report stage. Indeed, the logic is that one reads what happened in Committee before deciding what one wants to do on Report.

We have muddled that up in two ways. First, the same people are participating in the Committee and Report stages and, secondly, there is no time to amend the Bill. The proposal is not technically possible: it is a technical as well as a parliamentary nonsense.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Perhaps my hon. Friend will bear in mind the fact that it is technically possible, but in such an absurd way that no one would ever do it. The hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) would have to write out his amendments in the closing moments of Committee stage and get to the Table in the few seconds between the motion to report the Bill to the House and the start of the Report stage. If there were a queue, I do not know how it could be managed.

Mr. Hughes

My right hon. Friend reminds us that, over the years, many of us have given the Clerks amendments in, literally, a couple of seconds. My right hon. Friend is right, as that is technically possible. However, in commonsense terms, there is no chance for any of us to speak to a soul outside about what we have done in Committee. Furthermore, it is not possible for us to leave this place after the Committee and then to table amendments.

There is one more nonsense. We will now debate a Bill that, on the kindest interpretation, is very technical and legalistic, particularly when one takes into account the amendments. We will be debating definitions of important terms such as "reasonable cause to believe" and "reasonable cause to suspect" and important legal and judicial processes such as detention, arrest and court proceedings. We are undertaking consideration of the 46 amendments collectively. Potentially, 654 Members could contribute, excluding you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, your fellow Deputy Speakers and taking into account the one vacancy because of a death.

Mr. Simon Burns (West Chelmsford)

What about Sinn Fein?

Mr. Hughes

I stand corrected. There are 652 potential participants, if one takes into account the fact that the two Sinn Fein Members cannot participate. What place in the world would sensibly hold a Committee stage with 652 participants?

We welcomed the draft Bill, but we could have had a Special Standing Committee, time between the different stages of consideration and a chance to do this job well. To put it bluntly, when such legislation was always foreseeable and could have been introduced at the beginning of the parliamentary year, halfway through the year or even a month ago, this is not the way to run a country, let alone to treat a Parliament.

Mr. Burns

I have been listening carefully to the hon. Gentleman, and if I understand him correctly, he is saying that to have 652 Members taking part in a stage of a Bill's consideration on the Floor of the House is not the best way to proceed. Has he ever made that argument before when we have taken legislation on the Floor of the House? I certainly have not heard him do so.

Mr. Hughes

I have not made that a Hughes campaign, although I have made the argument before. We have amendments in the names of Conservative Members, Government amendments and Liberal Democrat amendments, all of which relate to drafting, and there are various alternatives for defining offences. I should have thought that the most important argument is that it is sensible for us all—including the hon. Gentleman, who has been involved in this legislation—to try to ensure that we have a debate such as those that we have in a Standing Committee, where we listen to arguments, consider what works best and come up with something that is likely to stand up as good law.

The point that follows from that, and which led me to intervene on the Home Secretary, is that we will end up with bad law or bad drafting, or both. The Bill must contain bad law or bad drafting, or both, because the Government will today seek to persuade us to change it. I only hope that if it contains bad law or bad drafting, or both, Ministers will not, after today, blame their civil servants.

Many colleagues will not have had a chance to see many of the amendments because they appeared on the amendment paper only today. We all know that most colleagues travel from their constituency on a Monday morning and will have seen those amendments only when they got here, unless the Government sent them out round the country, which is unrealistic. That is nonsense. If we have to get the Bill on to the statute book by August, we should have had a deadline by which amendments had to be tabled. We could then have looked at the amendments and, depending on their number, we could have agreed a timetable and proceeded on that basis.

The Bill has an extraordinary variety of opponents, including Liberty, the Law Society, former Attorney-Generals, former Home Office Ministers, the chairman of the Police Federation and Lord Tebbit, as well as good solid burghers such as ourselves. If that coalition does not suggest that something is wrong with the legislation, I do not know what coalition would. This is not the way to treat Parliament, to make sane legislation or to run a country.

We gather from the memo that was leaked over the weekend that the Prime Minister wants to be tough. The price of rushing through incompetent but tough legislation is not one worth paying. It might be better to be a little less tough, a little less rushed and a little more competent.

4.45 pm
Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)

I always oppose guillotine motions, and this one is no exception—save that it is worse than most because of the circumstances in which it has been tabled. Right from the start, I have not accepted any argument that there is some urgency or unusual circumstance surrounding the Bill simply because events—football matches, of all things—provide a backdrop for the legislative process. I find that an insulting and absurd proposition.

I still do not see how the fact that our legal processes—and those of the host countries, for people travelling abroad—cannot deal, or more properly will not deal, with the matter in the present form, provides an adequate reason for this House and this Parliament to legislate in indecent haste. I reject the underlying reason that has been given time and again for the haste with which we are expected to deal with the Bill.

The second reason, which disturbs me more than usual, is the Bill's content. Without rehearsing it—there is plenty of time to start, but not complete that, this evening and into tomorrow—it affects citizens' liberties and freedoms and their relationship with the police and the judicial process. I would have thought that that is a sufficient reasonv—in fact, an overriding and overwhelming reason—to be more than usually cautious about how we deal with the Bill, and not the other way around. Yet, as the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has said, the whole matter has been stood on its head. We are being asked to process with indecent haste a Bill that touches on vital areas of individual liberty. That must be an absurdity.

The House and this Parliament have a well established series of processes, but let us look at the detailed provisions of what we are expected to do. Not everybody agrees with the processes; people all over the place who call themselves modernisers are saying that we must sweep such things aside and change them—but we have not done so yet. We still operate under our traditional, well established rules and procedures, which we thought were well understood. Along come the Government, who say, "No, for this Bill, because of the claimed urgency, and never mind the content, we want to fly in the face of what we have always thought in Parliament was proper."

The Bill was properly considered in principle on Second Reading last week, which, as my right hon. Friend the Member for North—West Hampshire (Sir G. Young) said, the House accepted. Yet we are to deny ourselves the normal Standing Committee arrangements, whereby a relatively small number of colleagues looks properly at the Bill and considers it in detail. Even more importantly, as the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey said, we are to deny other colleagues the opportunity to look at the Bill having considered what happened in Committee. Committees, after all, report to the House; that is the point of considering a Bill on Report.

How on earth, therefore, are we to deal with the Bill properly in Committee and then report it properly and after due consideration to the House? We cannot because Members have not been provided with a proper opportunity—between Second Reading and Committee, certainly between Committee and Report, and even on Third Reading—for mature consideration.

Mr. Straw

I think that I heard the right hon. Gentleman say that he had always opposed guillotine motions. If that is so, will he explain why he voted for the guillotine motion on the Football Spectators Bill on 17 July 1989?

Mr. Forth

That would have been when I was a Minister; that changes everything. I meant to say to the House—I am grateful to the Home Secretary for pointing it out—that I have always opposed guillotine motions as a Member free to make my own judgment. As the Home Secretary kindly pointed out earlier, for which I was grateful, I believe that I am now a Member free to make my own proper judgments on these matters—and I hope that he accepts that I exercise that judgment in a parliamentary context when I properly should.

However, if the Home Secretary is suggesting that, during the period in which I had the honour to serve as one of Her Majesty's Ministers, I should have exercise that same freedom, he knows as well as I do that, at that time, I accepted the same degree of collective responsibility as he now accepts. It is for that reason, albeit on a slightly different subject, that the right hon. Gentleman appeared to be pleading a deaf ear moment ago, so let us not dwell overlong on such matters.

The urgency pleaded for the Bill is spurious and the timetable that has been suggested denies all that we have been brought up to believe is proper and necessary in parliamentary procedure. Not only are we as Members of Parliament not to be given an opportunity to consider such vital matters, but, as the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey points out, we are not to be given any opportunity to listen to, to consult or to receive advice and input from legitimate outside interests, whether football interests or legal interests or others—none of that will be possible.

I suspect and fear that the result will be uniquely bad legislation, because of the way in which the Bill has been drafted and prepared, the haste with which it has been altered, the extent to which the House has been unable to give it proper consideration and, most important, the way in which Members of Parliament have been unable to receive proper advice and input from outside. That is wrong in every conceivable way. I can conceive of no justification for the Bill, for the way in which it is to be dealt with, or for the likely end result. For those reasons, I hope that the House will not go along with the suggested arrangements, because they are a recipe for disaster.

4.51 pm
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

I am an admirer of the current Home Secretary; unlike some others, I think that he does care about the House of Commons and that he makes every effort to listen to individual Members who raise valid points. However, although discretion might dictate that I do otherwise, I am afraid that I have to tell him that I am not happy about these arrangements. To push through such a guillotine in such a manner on such an important Bill is not a good idea. I believe that we shall end up with legislation that is not acceptable, especially because several of its provisions have a direct impact on people's civic rights. That causes me concern, even though I do not pretend to have an easy solution to the problem of those who would go abroad and wreck everybody else's cities, rather than stay at home and wreck their own.

I am also concerned about something that my right hon. Friend said, although I might have misheard him. During his attempt to explain why he was being so amenable, he appeared to imply—I am sure that I must be mistaken—that the hours he had spent engaged in discussions with people outside the Chamber ought to be considered part of the debate and, therefore, a reason to allow the legislation to make swift progress. That is a slightly worrying suggestion and I hope that my right hon. Friend will make it clear that he did not mean it.

Although it was an endearing moment, inasmuch as it appears that, for the first time in many years, we have heard discussed the byzantine ways of the usual channels—a moment that makes sitting here worth while even in the absence of any other reason—we still come back to the fact that if the House rushes legislation and has no time to consider the implications, it frequently makes mistakes. We have the right to push legislation through in one day: it has been done in my lifetime and in yours, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I recall several Acts dealing with terrorism passing with total agreement and astonishing speed—although even some of those proved to be less than good legislation and had to be reviewed.

I do not want to detain the House and I am trying not to say anything that I have said many times before, but my misgivings are real because the Bill is one that will affect the rights of the citizens of the United Kingdom. They may be reprehensible citizens of the United Kingdom; they may be people whom I do not want in my living room; they may be people whom I would oppose root and branch in political terms and in terms of their commitment to very extreme organisations; and they may be people who, I hope, never get to go abroad and represent the United Kingdom in any way at all.

However, I must say to my right hon. Friend that to rush a Bill through the House of Commons in short order at the end of the summer season, which is always a difficult period, may not be a good idea. I do not like it. I am not impressed with the Bill. Although my right hon. Friend has made enormous strides and has given way on various aspects of it, I remain extremely worried about the impact of the legislation.

4.55 pm
Mr. Roger Gale (North Thanet)

Those of us who were in the Chamber at a late hour the other night have rehearsed some of the arguments already.

The Home Secretary has had two years since Marseilles, countless legislative opportunities to introduce a properly thought through, properly drafted Bill if he had chosen to do so, and ample opportunity for such a Bill to be properly debated in both Houses and for outside authorities to make representations and to have their views considered.

There has been a considerable number of debates around the subject. It is a disgrace for the Home Secretary to present to the House in a knee-jerk reaction, a fortnight before the end of the summer Session of Parliament, a Bill hastily cobbled together on the basis of the "do something" school of politics, rather than do the right thing. The right hon. Gentleman knows that, and he knows that that is why he has had to table amendments today, in a desperate attempt to cobble together some sort of coalition that might allow the measure to get through the House tonight, in order that their Lordships can try to do a damage limitation exercise and turn the Bill into something remotely workable.

This is a bad Bill. Hours of debate tonight—even the protracted hours that we are now told we are to be allowed to have—will not get it right, for the reasons given earlier by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth). A few hours, without proper consultation, will not turn a bad Bill into a good Bill.

The Home Secretary had to concede the other night, because he had no alternative, that the Bill's writ will not run in Scotland or Northern Ireland. All the commentators who have said that it is a Bill to control football hooliganism are wrong. It cannot do so, because the football hooligans can fly abroad from Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What is needed—this is why the timetable is wrong—is time, after the Committee stage and the acceptance of a few relatively minor amendments, to work out how to do properly the job that the Home Secretary says he wants to do. There is time. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst pointed out that it is wrong for the Bill or any legislation to be driven by a football match, or even several football matches, on the continent in the autumn. What matters is not that we do something, but that we do the right thing. The Bill is not the right thing; it is patently the wrong thing.

My friend the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks) said the other night, recalling the dreadful and now infamous Dangerous Dogs Act 1989, that he did not believe that the Bill was a replica of that. I am one of the relics of that Act. I am ashamed to admit that I was one of those who initially supported it. It went through under a Conservative Government, but with cross-party support. It was legislation in haste, which was repented at leisure. That was dreadful legislation because it was a knee-jerk reaction, on the basis of the "do something" school of politics, and it took us five years to amend it. It is still bad legislation, although it is marginally less bad than it was when we put it on the statute book.

What we are about to do, at the Home Secretary's behest if he is allowed to ram the Bill in its present form through the House in 24 hours, is to recreate a dangerous dog's breakfast. I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman wants to do that. Even at this very late hour, I say to the Home Secretary, for pity's sake, allow the Committee stage to go through today, as it must, and then allow time, so that proper representations can be made and there can be a half-decent chance of our getting proper legislation on the statute book that stands an outside chance of working.

4.59 pm
Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)

The Bill is coarse and degrades Parliament; it is a tabloid Bill. We are discussing it today because of tabloid reaction to Euro 2000. The tabloids demanded that something be done; they always do. In such circumstances, there are great scandals and tabloid headlines; dogs bark, priests pray and politicians legislate. The statute book is littered with such legislation—for example, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989, which has already been mentioned. We were told that if we opposed it, we were in favour of young children having their faces mutilated by dogs.

After the well-publicised, tragic death of a young woman from drugs, the Public Entertainments Licences (Drug Misuse) Act 1997 was passed. It was meant to achieve three objectives: to change the licensing of clubs in which drugs might be used; to alter the conditions of the licences and close specific clubs, and to persuade local authorities to change their licensing system. Nothing has resulted from that Act.

Horror comics were banned from being imported to this country in 1955. There was a Bill to control the windows of sex shops. There is a long list of legislation that has come to the House because of a demand from the press. Politicians have prostituted their office and this institution by not legislating in the right way, and by throwing away opportunities and wasting time on measures such as this Bill in order to seek popularity.

I gave advice, as I always do, to my party. I suggested 18 months ago that Ministers should stop taking the tabloids. Sadly, that has not happened. We have evidence that the leaders of our country, like the leaders in the previous Government, need to be hooked to a drip-feed of daily admiration from the press. If they do not get it, they become nervous and fretful. We should be in touch with the public mood, but not with the lowest common denominator of racism and hatred of other nations. We should be in touch with the public's best instincts.

The Bill is the result of a misreading of the events of Euro 2000. We have heard a great deal about Charleroi and Brussels, but nothing about Eindhoven. The essence of what happened can be distilled in the difference between the approach of two police forces—between intelligent, subtle policing and—[HON. MEMBERS: "Drugs."] I do not need to mention that. I am talking about the difference between intelligent, subtle policing and crude, tough policing. It resembles the difference between reaction in this country to the miners strike and the current farmers demonstrations.

Farmers are taking similar actions to those of the miners during their strike: blocking roads, breaking the law and committing acts of vandalism. As far as I know there have been no arrests and no court cases involving farmers. However, the miners were imprisoned, some for a long time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)

Order. The hon. Gentleman is straying rather wide of the allocation of time motion.

Mr. Flynn

I am making the point that the Bill is based on events surrounding three football matches. If Euro 2000 had not taken place, we would not be here now.

In Brussels, the police prepared for confrontation. They turned up in riot gear, they had water cannon and they allowed the sale of double-strength beer. Inevitably, confrontation occurred. It was an example of the stupid, tabloid, tough reaction that won great praise from the Belgian press and the press in this country. The Dutch police turned up in informal clothing—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I was trying to bring the hon. Gentleman back into line and back to the allocation of time motion. However, he is still straying wide of the mark. I should be grateful if he would now refer directly to the motion.

Mr. Flynn

We are considering whether to allocate time to a Bill, the fundamental basis of which has not been established today or last week. There is no basis for the Bill because the problem is not about this country but about the way in which matters were handled by the Dutch police, who dealt with the same football crowd when England lost its matches. There was no riot or bad behaviour by the English fans against whom we are trying to introduce changes in the law. The Dutch police handled matters intelligently and subtly. If we tried to tackle the problem by influencing the police in the foreign countries to which our fans travel, we would get a result. In Eindhoven, the police described the fans' reaction to an English defeat as mild disappointment and polite applause.

This is bad legislation which will not help Parliament in any way. Neither this Bill nor any other should be introduced to satisfy the demands of the tabloid press.

5.5 pm

Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)

The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) spoke good and true about how the House should legislate. In fact, the cheerful cynicism of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) lies behind the Government's position on these matters. The Home Secretary referred to a time when 17 Bills were guillotined, but 37 Bills have been guillotined during this Parliament alone and 20 have not been agreed between the Front Benches. That shows the scale of the problem that has confronted our legislative process, but the Government still go ahead despite the concerns that have been rightly expressed by my hon. Friends, as well as by those on the Liberal Democrat Front Bench.

We now have the most exclusive new Labour Government conceivable. They are so exclusive that they do not want to involve the wider public in the legislative process. Those on the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Front Benches have rightly implied that the legislative process should not be exclusive. We must reach out and test whether the Bill receives the public's consent or merely their acquiesence. By tabling the motion, the Government are bypassing the processes of Parliament.

Opposition to a measure should be exhaustive, because in such debates, we test whether legislation can be borne. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich spoke good and true, because how can we involve anyone in the debate on Report? Second Reading finished shortly before 1 am on Friday and the House did not sit on Friday, yet a Committee of the whole House will soon consider the Bill. What outside representative could weigh up any amendment that has been tabled? It is difficult for hon. Members on both sides of the House to try to collate amendments and ensure that they are in order and to consider whether the allocation of time motion allows adequate time for debate.

I was genuinely surprised to see a guillotine motion on the Order Paper. Nothing in Thursday's debate suggested that the usual grounds for expediting legislation existed. Reasoned arguments were put forward, but the speeches were not long; perhaps the most loquacious was the fine speech of the Liberal Democrat spokesman, the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). However, there was no will to impede the process of government by delay—by argument, yes, because this is clearly a contentious Bill that touches on civil liberties, our self-respect and that for our fellow citizens.

I refer again to the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich because there were truths in the essence of her speech. None of us approves of thuggery or intimidatory conduct, but the House should be allowed to take time to weigh up how legislation impacts on freedom, arrest, detention and magistrates courts.

The Home Secretary tried to anticipate the debate by stating which amendments he would accept. I have no doubt there will be joy in certain sections of the House, but who has had the opportunity to lobby and to reflect on the Bill? How can we reflect on it between Committee, Report and Third Reading? There was no need for the guillotine. I genuinely believe that the business would have probably been disposed of in a much shorter period than the time limit proposed. We can now only make a stab at what is appropriate.

The Government have used 37 guillotines in slightly more than three years. A Government guillotine is, in essence, a denial of freedom of speech; it simply stops Members speaking. Time and again, the Government have said that there is an imperative to table a guillotine motion, but why should a Bill stand if reasoned opposition to it cannot be exhausted? Our processes depend on allowing those who do not agree with the majority sentiment to express opposition, but guillotines are a way to inhibit the expression of opposition to what will become criminal law.

5.10 pm
Mr. Tony Banks (West Ham)

The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) has not been prevented from contributing, nor was he prevented from contributing on Second Reading, and I doubt whether any Member interested in debating the Bill will be prevented from having his or her say. The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) wondered how 652 Members will be able to get involved in debates in Committee. Oh that 652 Members were interested in getting involved! I suspect that the same Members will be involved in Committee and on Report and very much doubt whether any others will come to the Chamber, so there will be a continuum in the process.

I have opposed and supported guillotine motions. Like most Members, I trust, one exercises judgment as to what is appropriate. I find it distressing that the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills and, in particular, my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) and I are on opposing sides. However, I want to address a couple of points made by the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) about the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 and by my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) about the prevention of terrorism Acts. If a Bill came to the House cold and we were asked to act immediately, that could be described as a knee-jerk reaction, to use that horrible expression, but so far as I can see the Bill is almost incremental. It is not as though the issue has not been discussed in the House on various occasions and at great length.

Mrs. Dunwoody

I understand my hon. Friend's point, but if the Bill is simply incremental as he says, it would not have been necessary for the Home Secretary to take note of the points made by Members of the other place and various groups outside. I am afraid that the Bill contains the kernel of a civil rights problem.

Mr. Banks

I can understand the controversy over the Bill, but it is up to us to exercise our judgment as to how we can best address the problems. We cannot always complain about having to consider legislation to a time scale briefer than the norm. It must be possible to exercise judgment over a brief period, as it must possible to do so over an extended period. There are problems, but that is what the process is all about.

I described the Bill as incremental to show that the issue has not just hit us smack in the face, like the problems with dangerous dogs or issues surrounding the prevention of terrorism Acts. For example, there was a sudden, calamitous experience in Birmingham and an immediate rush to do something. Such legislation worries me far more than the Bill. The Football Spectators Act 1989 was amended by the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999, which was promoted by the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns).

My hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West is right: we would not be discussing the Bill but for the events at Euro 2000. As I understand it, the Government thought that existing legislation was adequate to deal with the problem, but clearly it was not. It was thought that the 1989 Act was adequate, but the hon. Member for West Chelmsford still introduced the 1999 Act. At times, one has to keep fine tuning legislation, and I believe that the Bill has been introduced in that spirit, although I accept that it is highly controversial.

Mr. Gale

I have a modicum of sympathy with the argument that the hon. Gentleman is deploying, but what is not incremental—indeed, it is a new circumstance—is that the Bill is being considered following the introduction of devolved powers to Scotland and Northern Ireland. So far as I can see, no discussions have taken place and no legislation is being introduced in the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly to support the Bill. There is a gaping hole below the Bill's waterline, which is why it must be delayed. All the powers must be properly co-ordinated

Mr. Banks

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point, and my right hon. Friend must deal with that issue. There is clearly a loophole, but at least we know about it, so we must find a way of closing it. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend has discussed this matter with whoever passes for his equivalent in the Scottish Parliament, but it must clearly be addressed. The problems of devolution are now revealing themselves, but we must handle them—devolution was a decision of the House, so we must deal with its implications. This will not be the only time that a problem will arise.

I hope that my hon. Friends are prepared to accept my right hon. Friend's statement and the way in which he proposes to enact this legislation. Some say that we should not worry because it is only a football match between England and France. I do not see many hon. Members in the Chamber who are noted for their devotion to our beautiful game of football or who are regular attenders. I shall not tempt fate by asking everyone who regularly supports a football club to stand up, but I know the hon. Members present well enough to know that not many of them are fully conversant with football or the ways of football hooligans. That will come out in due course.

It is not just a matter of the France versus England match: Intertoto matches are taking place now, and the UEFA cup and the Champions league will start in September. They are not matches that usually give rise to the problems that we saw in Charleroi or Brussels because they involve our clubs, but it is imperative to have a timetable, and that requires us to support the Secretary of State. I trust that my hon. Friends, including that excellent parliamentarian, my good and trusted hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West, will support our right hon. Friend.

Mr. Shepherd

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that this issue affects not only people who love football, but anyone who passes through any of our ports, who could be detained even though they have no interest in football and no intention of going near a football ground?

Mr. Banks

I find it difficult to understand that point. This legislation will apply when football matches are in the offing. I cannot believe that people who are stopped but who clearly have no interest in or knowledge of football will be caught up in this. I do not want to fall foul of Mr. Deputy Speaker's strictures to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West about the principle of the Bill, but I should point out that it contains safeguards that, in my opinion and that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, would prevent that from happening. I am satisfied that we can discuss those provisions during Committee stage, but for the moment I give my right hon. Friend my full support on the timetable motion.

5.18 pm
Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)

I reject the notion that those of us who are regular attenders at football matches should hold our peace in this debate. I am an occasional attender of matches in the Highland league, but they have not caused the problems that we are dealing with today.

The hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) raised a point about Scotland that is of considerable importance. The House should not legislate in vain on anything, and there is such a major loophole in the Bill that it would be prudent at least to ascertain the view of the Scottish Executive on the merits of the Bill before proceeding to enact it.

I have a major concern about the timetable motion. I am not opposed to programming of legislation by agreement, subject to there being adequate time for external consultation. That view was recommended by the Hansard Society during consideration of the reform of the legislative process—I was a member and it was chaired by Geoffrey Rippon—and it seemed to me to make sense.

There is no such provision proposed in the allocation of time motion. We have heard from the Home Secretary an indication that his mind has moved on the issue since he last addressed the House. We have not had any opportunity to discuss with those who might have a direct interest in seeking to enforce the Bill what their view is of how the Secretary of State's mind has moved. It is not satisfactory to take that movement as the end of the story.

Mr. Burns

The Home Secretary can confirm that one of the more controversial proposals in the Bill—namely, the proposal to take passports away from unconvicted football hooligans—was published by the Government, with a series of other proposals on football hooligans, in March last year and went out to a full consultative process, to which the Government received responses. When I proposed a similar idea two months later, there was further consultation, in that a number of other organisations wrote to me and to the Government on it. To say that there has been no opportunity for consultation or to get outside views on that controversial issue is factually incorrect

Mr. Maclennan

I made no suggestion that the matter was factually different from what the hon. Gentleman has said. However, a number of matters are being considered as a result of the Home Secretary's mind moving. One of the most important innovations is in respect of detention, which goes to the heart of our civil liberties. Here I wholeheartedly endorse everything said by the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), whose wise words ought to be listened to by the House on this and many another occasion.

This is one of those issues that shows it is wrong to rush legislation. The kind of urgency that has been suggested by the Home Secretary and the Government stems from the existence of a possible difficulty because of a possible breakdown in policing or some possible determined hooliganism on a particular occasion in the future. That is a classic statement of the circumstances in which it is wrong to legislate. We do not legislate for an occasion in this place, but with the intention that what we do should have a lasting and beneficial effect and should change practices and behaviour.

My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) suggested that the changes or development in the Home Secretary's thinking were due to the original Bill being either bad law or bad drafting, or possibly both. If by bad law he meant bad policy, that is where I think the fault lies.

The hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks) said that we should make up our minds and reach a judgment quickly. Candidly, he has been applying his mind to this issue for a long time and no doubt his mind is settled on it. He could scarcely have done the job that he has done for as long as he has and come to the debate without a clear view. However, he is in a different position from many hon. Members: I would venture to say, most hon. Members. When measures are proposed seriously restricting our civil liberties, it is right that we should consult, and consult the law enforcers in particular. When there is evidence of unease—as has been expressed in the last three days—it is wrong to act in the way that is proposed.

By running the Committee and Report stages into one, although it may be possible to deal with points raised in Committee through manuscript amendments on Report, we put the Chair in an extremely difficult position. There are inadequate opportunities to consider the merits of manuscript amendments. We might table nonsensical amendments because of the difficulty of drafting under the likely circumstances. It is not an appropriate way for us to proceed.

I considered seeking your advice on a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is perfectly possible that matters will be raised in Committee that give rise to ways of proceeding. It would be invidious, however, to spring such an inquiry on you at this stage, although I am aware that there are precedents.

A clear gap of 24 hours—of one whole day's sitting—should be allowed between Committee and Report stages. That would not defeat the Government's purpose of enabling the Bill to go to another place and return here before the summer recess, but even if it did frustrate our intention to complete our deliberations before then, we should greet that with irritation but accept that it is our duty to return to consider the Bill appropriately.

5.27 pm
Mr. Jim Murphy (Eastwood)

Either the Bill—or something very similar to it—will be enacted this side of the recess, to enable matches played in the autumn and early parts of the winter to be covered by it, or we will delay, and allow the matches to take place under earlier legislation.

The right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) has outed himself as a Highland league fan. That is no bad thing, as it was a Highland league team, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, that destroyed my team and its manager's career this year. As the right hon. Gentleman said, the legislation will go through, and it is simply a matter of timing. We should act as promptly as possible, to enable good, but tougher, legislation to be in force when the games to which I have referred take place.

We are not in an ideal situation; Ministers may want to expand on that later. Ideally, there would be prolonged gaps and further consultation. Ideally, we would not be having this debate at all, because we would not have such a massive problem of football hooliganism. With that caveat, we must discuss and develop the arguments on how to get effective legislation on the statute book in time for all the games mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks), as well as Intertoto, European Champions league and UEFA matches, and the friendly between Manchester United and Galatasaray, which could cause problems.

The Bill is not the enormous attack on civil liberties that has been suggested. On Second Reading, one of my hon. Friends said that what is at stake is the denial to individuals of the right to travel abroad to attend a football match that they will be able to watch at home. That does not constitute the enormous attack on individual civil liberties that some people have identified this evening.

The difference between Scotland and England and Wales is also not a reason for delaying the legislation. The Bill will apply to England and Wales, and the Scottish Parliament may discuss its own legislation. To delay legislation in this House simply so that a devolved Parliament can decide to enact its own legislation when it returns from recess would not close a loophole. Indeed, it would create an enormous open door. It misses the point to argue against legislation covering England and Wales timeously to prevent a small number of people from leaving the country on the basis that they could leave from Scotland.

Mr. Simon Hughes

To be fair to the debate, nobody—apart from the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth)—has argued that we should not have legislation in place by the summer holiday. I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman makes and that there will be a later issue for Scotland and, possibly, for Northern Ireland. However, he should recognise that we are all saying that we should have legislation, but that it should be reasonable and as watertight as possible.

Mr. Murphy

I do not know what happens in Bermondsey in the next couple of months, but in my area we will have a recess rather than a holiday. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. However, this House and the other place do not have the legislative responsibility to do anything in respect of the loophole in Scotland, which is entirely the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. Even if we decided to delay legislation, there is no guarantee that the Scottish Parliament would decide to do anything.

The argument has been made that we should delay so that we may consult public opinion, but the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) has already identified the fact that similar legislation was mooted more than a year ago. I said on Second Reading that I had written to every English and Scottish premiership club two years ago and several of them suggested measures similar to those in the Bill and in some of the amendments. On those grounds, it is important that we have legislation in place in advance of the recess that will deal with many of the problems that have been identified.

Right hon. and hon. Members have warned of the consequences if we pass legislation that is not as good as it could be in the understandable desire to have something in place, be that because of the necessity for the Government to compromise with Opposition Front Benchers or as a consequence of amendment in the other place. It is essential that we have legislation in place specifically on the passport issue and on the connection between convictions for violence and the inability to travel abroad.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) confessed an affection for Newport AFC, but I suspect that he is not worried about foreign travel, because his team is many decades from travelling outside England and parts of Wales. His point was that we should not pass legislation on a whim or as a knee-jerk reaction, but the Bill is nothing of the sort. The problem has existed for more than 20 years and various Governments have tried their best to deal with it. To say that the problem comes down to what type of beer was being sold in Holland or Belgium—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is straying well wide of the timetable motion. I would be grateful if he brought his remarks back to the motion before the House.

Mr. Murphy

I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was just responding to the points made by my hon. Friend which you correctly ruled out of order earlier. If we do not pass meaningful and effective legislation this side of the recess, this House and this country will be blamed for continuing to export our violence when we had an opportunity to pass the legislation that would prevent it.

5.35 pm
Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden)

With the exceptions of the hon. Members for Eastwood (Mr. Murphy) and for West Ham (Mr. Banks), I have agreed with all speakers from all parties who have so far contributed to the debate and responded to the Home Secretary. That is as it should be, as it is the function of hon. Members to uphold the liberties of subjects. So far as I know, no hon. Member was elected on a manifesto of restricting people's liberties, or of restricting opportunities to debate changes to those liberties.

I agree especially with the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody). I have a certain respect for the Home Secretary, as does the hon. Lady. I see him as a Jekyll and Hyde character, and I respect the good, Dr. Jekyll side of his character that shows respect for parliamentary traditions and freedoms. I am therefore grateful to him for the small mercies that he has shown the House today in accepting the Opposition amendments to the motion and extending debate beyond the ludicrously short time originally planned.

However, I am afraid that the other side to the Home Secretary's nature is a desire to appear tougher than tough, and more brutal than brutal. That side of his character panders to the Prime Minister's requirement that tough-sounding measures be produced, however shoddy they may be.

Earlier, Madam Speaker pointed out to the Home Secretary that, during the debate on the guillotine motion, he could not discuss the substance of the Bill. I take it that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would not allow the House to discuss the question of timing during the Committee stage. That is why I wish now to discuss the issue of the timing of the debate on this Bill.

Despite the concession that the Home Secretary has made, major questions remain about the amount of time devoted to consideration of the Bill, and how it is allocated. First of all, there is no real urgency about the measure. Football matches have been held over the past few months, and there will be another one in September. It is, I believe, only a friendly match that does not matter very much. If the Home Secretary thinks that that match is so crucial that the Bill must be on the statute book before it takes place, he has the option of asking the football authorities to delay it until a later date.

Alternatively, he could arrange for the start of the recess to be delayed. That would allow the House to consider the Bill fully—if we were not able to do so before the end of July, in the way that the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) set out. There is therefore no real urgency about the matter. The Bill was pushed forward so that the Government could show that they had initiated legislation before the 2006 world cup decision was taken.

The Library has produced a useful brief on this matter, and it shows that football hooliganism is not a recent phenomenon. Governments have been legislating about it since the 14th century. It seems a bit foolish to contend that it is crucial that this Bill be rushed through before the end of July in the year 2000, given that we have spent 600 years not getting the matter right.

Above all, before today's Committee stage, there has not been enough time properly to table amendments to the Bill, whose Second Reading debate began last Thursday and ended in the early hours of Friday. Friday was a non-sitting day, and most hon. Members did not realise that amendments could be tabled then. When I tried to table amendments this morning, I was told that handwritten amendments would be frowned on, as there were already starred amendments for consideration. However, I gather that that did not stop the Government putting down further handwritten amendments. I gather that they have not been able to put down sufficient amendments for the Committee stage and have had to put down amendments for the Report stage before the Committee's consideration has been completed—or am I mistaken about that?

Mr. Simon Hughes

I cannot answer the right hon. Gentleman's last question. However, my understanding is that not only were the Government amendments put down on Friday, but they were put down towards the end of the time permitted because when we tabled our amendments, there was no sign of them. Therefore, any chance of trying to take that into account was effectively foreclosed.

Mr. Lilley

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that clear.

Normally, we consider the principles of a Bill on Second Reading, after which we go back to our constituencies and discuss it with our constituents, professional organisations and interested parties. We can then put down amendments, often with detailed help and advice from the interested parties, so that the measure can be improved when it is considered in Committee. None of us has had the opportunity to do that. The only organisations that we could consult were those which work over the weekend, of which there were not a great many. However, in my constituency I was able to talk to doctors, neighbours, and people at church and in the pub. When I told them what was proposed, they all had grave reservations, but none had written amendments handy for me to submit this morning.

The initial motion in the name of the Home Secretary, which would have allowed but a few hours' debate—seven in total, including that on the guillotine motion—was manifestly insufficient and rather sinister in trying to concertina the whole process into such a short time. In addition, most of the debate will take place during the night. That does not worry me—I am quite happy to spend all night discussing this legislation to make sure that we get a better Bill than the one the Government have submitted. However, the timing is intentional, so that the Government get as little coverage as possible in the press for what they know to be a shoddy and dangerous Bill. That is why they are trying to get the debate over with quickly and during the hours of darkness. [Interruption.] Yes, there is something of the night about the Home Secretary's proposals, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis) says. [Interruption.] It may well be a qualification for Home Secretaries, but that is only the current political fashion.

I believe that the Bill raises many important issues. We need to examine them in Committee by putting down amendments to test whether those issues have been catered for by the Bill's wording and, if not, to amend the wording to ensure that they are properly covered. First, is the Bill reconcilable with the human rights provisions that the Government introduced? My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Sir N. Lyell), a former Attorney-General, says that it is not compatible with the human rights legislation, and he is a powerful and persuasive figure. The Government, however, say that the Bill does not conflict with the human rights provisions of the Council of Europe. If it is not incompatible with those provisions, it shows what an inadequate defence of our human rights these foreign provisions are. I have always maintained that. We in this place should be the principal defenders of our rights, regardless of whether the measures that we introduce are compatible with the European convention on human rights, which we have signed elsewhere.

The Bill raises many issues about the traditional rights of the English man and woman and the Welsh man and woman who are primarily affected by it. Does the Bill conflict with the presumption that someone is innocent until proven guilty, or does it not? We need to examine that and test it with appropriate amendments. Is it right to detain people simply to seek evidence of whether they may have indulged in some behaviour that might indicate that they would, at a future date, commit an offence, which would not be a criminal offence in this, or any other, country? We need time to consider all that.

Indeed, we must ask whether we should legislate at all to punish people for something that may not be a crime in this country or any other. We need time to consider that question. Should we punish people by withdrawing their passports on the basis of procedures that do not require criminal standards of proof, but only civil standards? Is the Bill compatible with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984? The Home Secretary said that he would introduce amendments to help to achieve compatibility, but we need to make absolutely sure of that. That is a major issue, and it cannot be resolved in just a few moments.

Once the House has heard the full list of issues that we must consider, it will realise that each of them will receive short shrift, even under the extended timetable that we are being permitted. There are questions of extraterritoriality. Should the House try to legislate to maintain peace and order in other jurisdictions? Surely that is primarily the duty of the Governments concerned. Should we place greater restrictions on the liberties of British subjects than we do to maintain domestic peace in order that peace may be maintained in France, Belgium, Germany and other places?

Does the Bill conflict with freedom of movement in the European Union? Freedom of movement is one of the aspects of the European treaties that I most support, but we appear to be restricting it. We need time to debate these matters and to test them by amendment, so that we may judge whether the Bill is incompatible with freedom of movement in the EU. If it is not, several people have said that restrictions of the kind proposed could be achieved only by the introduction of identity cards. I oppose that, but it may logically be compatible with the Bill and necessary as a result of it. The Government, who seem to be having second, third, fourth and fifth thoughts about the Bill, may want to move further in that damaging direction, and we should debate the point.

Is there a retrospective element to the Bill? Are we applying punishment to people who were previously found guilty under terms and conditions that did not include those punishments? Is there not a degree of double jeopardy in that respect? I understand that the German Government refused to participate in the administrative arrangements that we put in place to try to prevent the problems that occurred at Charleroi, because they believed that even those arrangements conflicted with the provisions in the German constitution preventing—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is doing his best to link all his different points to the amendment before us, but I am not sure that he has always succeeded.

Mr. Lilley

I am endeavouring to show that important issues before us require time for discussion and that the Government have not allowed for that time in their allocation of time motion. I do not intend to delay the House artificially; I merely want to put on the record how serious, important and numerous those issues are.

There are questions of discrimination against a particular group—football fans. We should remember that football fans, not football hooligans, will be impinged on by the Bill. Should it be restricted only to that group, or extended to fans of other sports? Should it include people wishing to travel abroad to take part in demonstrations that might be rowdy and at which they might be aggressive? Should it include people who wish to go abroad to participate in other illegal activities, such as taking drugs in Ibiza, where, we learn, many British behave in a deplorable manner? Those people would certainly arouse the wrath of the hon. Member for West Ham, who hates to see any British person travel abroad for illegal reasons and bringing the fair name of England into disrepute.

We must go through the measure line by line and word by word.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Charles Clarke)

The right hon. Gentleman mentions a range of issues that, as you pointed out earlier, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will be dealt with in Committee and on Report. Will he confirm that he intends, whatever the circumstances, to vote against the measure on Third Reading?

Mr. Lilley

No, I cannot confirm that. I did not vote against the measure on Second Reading, because, stretching my credulity and my willingness to compromise with the Government to their limits, I had hoped that the Government might remove both the uncertainties and the offensive aspects of the Bill so that it became comparatively harmless and was restricted to the two or three provisions that, as my right hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary pointed out, were not especially controversial.

Above all, we must consider the measure line by line and word by word to ensure that it is not an unworkable, shoddy, spin doctor's stunt. From this morning's newspapers, we know that the Prime Minister sent out an edict to his Ministers, stating that: On crime, we need to highlight tough measures…We should think now of an initiative…Something tough, with immediate bite which sends a message through the system. The Bill shows all the symptoms of being a response to that plea from the Prime Minister to send out tough messages. Of course, when he was in opposition, he had a wonderful slogan: "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime." That always seemed inadequate, because it missed out the words, "tough on criminals".

The Bill, however, would be tough on the innocent and tough on suspects—people who look as though they might be racist thugs and hooligans, but might turn out to be Members of Parliament in mufti. We need to consider such matters seriously and at greater length—with the opportunity to consult people outside the House—before the measure is passed into law.

We need to ensure that we rub the faces of the Government's Back-Bench supporters in the measure. That is how we shall ultimately achieve change in this place. The Government have a massive and overwhelming majority. They can steamroller the guillotine motion and the Bill through the House. However, if, before doing so, their Back Benchers have to spend so much time considering the measure that they are unable to obscure from their consciousness how contrary it is to their beliefs, they will get hold of the Home Secretary in the Lobby, as we vote on successive amendments, and say to him, "Heavens above Jack, Dr. Jekyll—whatever your name is—please alter this. Haven't you made a mistake? Give more time for consideration. Defer until the autumn".

If they did so, perhaps the measure would be made compatible with the principles that I believe a majority of Labour Members share with me, but with which the Bill is at present incompatible. If we support the allocation of time motion, we shall have insufficient time to ensure that the Bill is fit for the House to pass.

5.53 pm
Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South)

I am grateful to have an opportunity to speak in the debate, because in the past the city of Portsmouth has suffered considerable hooliganism, sadly associated with our team. That hooliganism was taken around the country, much to the discredit of the city. I am glad to say that there have been improvements and there is little or no trouble either at Fratton Park or at away games.

It is not unreasonable for people to expect the Government to react to the events that we saw over the summer. However, games that are about to take place have been cited as the reason for doing so—especially the one between Manchester United and Galatasaray. If the Football Association is really interested in doing something about the matter, and bearing in mind that it asked Manchester United to play in Brazil, it should ask the team, in the national interest, not to play a friendly match against Galatasaray in Belgium. That would be a major step.

We should remember that the two Leeds supporters who were killed in Istanbul were innocent, committed, long-term football supporters. They had travelled with their team on many occasions. They went to watch a football match, but were killed—innocent bystanders of events that overtook them. Whatever laws we pass, the innocent football supporter will always be caught up in the turmoil of hooliganism, when emotions run away with people.

When the measure received its Second Reading last Thursday, we all wanted the time for debate to be unfettered. As hon. Members have pointed out, the debate was successfully concluded. Everyone who wanted to speak was able to do so and there was no dissension as to the way in which our democratic processes had worked.

We then found out that the Government were intending to deal with the Bill's remaining stages in seven hours. That is a ludicrous proposal and we had to object to it. If it had been accepted, several Labour Back Benchers would have supported it only reluctantly. However, what have the Government conceded? They have agreed only to lengthen the proceedings—they have not allowed the reflection time that was essential between Committee and Third Reading, so that there would be a day or so between them.

We could fall in line with the other place by making a decision tonight—even at this late stage—to reconsider the timetable. We could take the Committee stage until midnight or, if necessary, until 5 am. The House could then adjourn business on the measure until after 10 pm on Wednesday. The House and the outside world would thus have a chance to reflect on it.

When the Home Secretary opened the debate, he said that over the weekend he had considered what had been said on Second Reading and the representations put to him by the Conservative Front-Bench team through the usual channels. I am sure that he also took into account what the outside world was telling him—either through his noble Friends or through Labour Back Benchers. The right hon. Gentleman was prepared to listen and the Bill is dramatically different. Even that small period made the Home4Secretary see the sense of allowing a break.

Common sense should prevail. The shadow Leader of the House explained why the Opposition had tabled their amendments, but why must the procedure be so complicated? Surely, it would be simpler for the Home Secretary and the Government to realise that it would make sense not to pass a Bill about which there will be grave reservations and in which people will try to find loopholes. Even before the measure leaves this place, lawyers will be relishing the opportunity to take on the Government and the state by defending people who will be caught up by it.

We do not need a Bill that will end in tears. We need a measure that delivers what most reasonable people want: justice and dignity for the nation as a whole and the preservation of the liberties of the individual. The legislation should not interfere with those liberties unnecessarily. That is what we expect. Unfortunately, the time we are offered for debate this evening and early tomorrow will not provide an opportunity to fulfil that expectation.

The Home Secretary enthuses about being tough; but if, in being so, he opens a hornets' nest that will lead to widespread disappointment, that cannot be right. He has had to admit that he thought the Government had enough powers to deal with the problems over the summer. How wrong he was. He should learn from that mistake and listen to what is being said by hon. Members who do not want to stop the Bill, but want it passed in a form that delivers what reasonable people want: justice administered fairly, with no pressure on individual policemen to do more than should be expected of them.

A match takes place in Paris in a few months' time. Ten to 12 ferries leave Portsmouth every day. Sometimes, thousands of people go through the passenger terminal, but who will vet them all to ensure that the undesirable element that the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks) and I do not want to travel to football matches does not get through?

We need a Bill that will deliver what we want. We need time to reflect on its current provisions, the provisions that will be in it at 12 o'clock, and on where we shall be at 5 o'clock on Tuesday when the Bill travels the short distance down the Corridor to the other place. If it goes out of this place in good shape, it stands less chance of being amended in the other place and of creating further difficulties for us the following week.

I hope that the Home Secretary has listened to this constructive debate. Unlike many debates on guillotine motions, hon. Members have not only expressed their anger at the guillotine, but have made constructive comments on how to improve a Government Bill that none of us wants to vote against.

6.1 pm

Mr. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

I agree with almost everyone who has spoken in the debate, with the possible exception of the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks). He lobbied me in the past when I was a Foreign Office Minister on the civil and civic rights of people in many other countries, so he surprised me when he said that, if we were not football fans, we might not understand the problem.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman on one point. I presume that he is right to say it is necessary for the Bill to become law before the summer recess. I cannot judge accurately the seriousness of the possible hooliganism that might follow the matches that are held abroad, so I shall take it as read that the Bill must become law by the beginning of August. However, even if we accept that assumption, we are involved in a hazardous parliamentary process.

There are good reasons for the structure of Second Reading and then a pause, Committee stage and then a pause and then the final stages of a Bill before it goes to the Lords. That is the only way that the House generates decent legislation. On every other occasion when we have not followed that procedure, we have ended up with bad legislation. Even when we follow that procedure and there is insufficient argument about the issues, we sometimes end up with bad legislation.

The Bill and the amendments demonstrate my argument. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Sir N. Lye11), who is a former Attorney-General, and I tabled amendments Nos. 28 and 29. In their amendments, the Government have accepted amendment No. 29 and substantively accepted amendment No. 28, but our amendments were tabled at the last minute—on Thursday evening, because the House did not sit on Friday—after relatively short consideration of the Bill. That the amendments were necessary was fairly obvious at that point; so much so that the Government probably agreed to accept them because, if they did not, the Bill would be illegal under the European convention on human rights. On that basis, the Bill was badly flawed even at first sight and who is to know what would have become apparent between Committee and Report?

The fact that there is no gap between the Committee and Report stages is what aggrieves me most about the process suggested for the debate. The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) told us that it would be possible to create a timetable for the Bill so that its Report stage would be taken on Wednesday. That would still allow the Lords sufficient time to complete its consideration of the Bill and send it back to us before the summer. That is the only intelligent way to consider the Bill. If we do not take that approach, flaws will undoubtedly remain in it.

The Bill is designed not just for the summer, but for the foreseeable future. It will be the basis on which the courts deliver law and it will impinge fiercely on the civil rights of individuals—not just football hooligans but all football fans and probably all those who travel on the day of international football matches. All of us—whether we are football fans or not—represent people in that latter category. Therefore, it is our duty—not just our right—to make the points that we have made today.

Although I tried to table a manuscript amendment to break consideration of the Bill into two parts so that we could debate it today and on Wednesday, that was unfortunately not possible under the procedures of the House. That is a tragedy, in my judgment. It will lead to the Bill having a harder time in the Lords and it may lead to its being greatly flawed when it becomes law.

6.5 pm

Mr. Christopher Gill (Ludlow)

I have listened to much of the debate this evening and on Second Reading and I am persuaded that the case for the Bill is not made. Certainly the case for proceeding with the indecent haste that the Government propose is not made.

The problems stem from the failure of law enforcement authorities to invoke existing powers. Doubts must have been created in the minds of those Members of Parliament who listened to the "Today" programme this morning and heard the father of the only football fan who was charged as a result of the scenes in Charleroi. Scores of arrests were made, but only one person was charged and the manner in which that was done appears to have been unsatisfactory. The proposed new law is unnecessary because existing law is not being invoked. We are in danger of doing the wrong thing—albeit for the right reasons—because of the indecent haste with which we are proceeding with the Bill.

We are in danger of legislating for one specific event in September because of the unacceptable behaviour of a very small minority. However, as has been pointed out, we have a duty and a responsibility to legislate for everyone in our society and in a way that does not prejudice the civil liberties of the majority. Any law that is made without the arguments for and against it being properly tested in debate risks becoming bad law.

Hon. Members have made the point that it is important to listen to a wide range of views. Parliament does not have the monopoly of wisdom on such subjects. Although Parliament has listened with great interest to those Members who have a specific interest in football and have knowledge of the problems occasioned by soccer hooliganism, many Members do not have such knowledge. Therefore it is wrong for us to proceed at break-neck speed without having time to consider the other views that might have been fed into the debate had it not been timetabled in such an unsatisfactory fashion. Given the fundamental civil liberty issues that are at stake, truncating the debate in the manner suggested by the Government is ill advised and offends against the finer traditions of law making in this Parliament.

6.9 pm

Sir Nicholas Lyell (North-East Bedfordshire)

I shall be brief, but I want to associate myself with what has been said by almost everyone on both sides of the House. In particular, I refer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley), who made a catalogue of points that all deserve serious consideration.

I do not want to sound churlish because I am grateful to the Home Secretary for accepting the substance of the two amendments that I and my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis) tabled. As my right hon. Friend said, they were tabled late at night, and many more amendments need to be tabled.

I strongly support the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock), who said that the proposal is a sticking-plaster palliative and that it would be much better to have the Report stage after 10 pm on Wednesday, rather than after midnight tonight, as at least that would provide two more days for some kind of reflection. It is quite wrong that a Bill that delves deep and make a major attack on the civil liberties of people in this country should be rushed through in this way. We have already said that it is not necessary, as there have been eight pieces of legislation on football matters since 1980, and a friendly match with France in September is no justification for rushing in this way.

I shall briefly highlight the important points. The Home Secretary has already acknowledged one human rights error by accepting our amendments. However, the Bill contains another human rights error as, under schedule 1, proposed new section 21C(1) of the Football Spectators Act 1989 makes the measures applicable only to citizens of this country, which directly contradicts article 14 of the ECHR, under which such action is discriminatory. If the Home Office cannot get such matters right and, as is his statutory duty, the Home Secretary states on the front of the Bill that, under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998, in his view the provisions of the Football (Disorder) Bill are compatible with the Convention rights, within a few days he will be demonstrated to be wrong on one occasion and, I believe, wrong on a second. I say that with deep respect for the Home Office lawyers who are advising the Home Secretary, many of whom I know personally and who are of a high calibre. However, if they can get it wrong when advising the Home Secretary, as we must presume, and the Home Secretary is wrong about fundamental human rights, about which the Government have made such a song and dance about introducing, the need for close scrutiny is strongly demonstrated.

I shall say a quick word about extraterritoriality. My right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden tabled an amendment with which I have a good deal of sympathy, as it proposes that a criminal action that takes place abroad but is not dealt with there could be dealt with here. However, before we breach that dam, big issues are raised.

Let us suppose that one is seen on videotape in a crowd that is milling around and clearly taking part in public disorder. If one is in such a crowd, one is likely to be contributing to disorder, whether or not one wishes to. However, one's opportunity to defend oneself may be extremely limited. Consequently, I am hesitant about supporting a measure which, if we can get the wording right, might be sensible.

I have made the few points that I need to make immediately, and which add up to the fact that the rush on the Bill will cause us to regret at leisure what we have done in haste.

6.13 pm
Mr. Straw

With the leave of the House, I shall seek to reply to the debate.

I recognise that those who have consistently opposed guillotine motions while supporting their party in government as well as in opposition have strong moral authority for what they have said today. Of those members of the official Opposition who have spoken against the guillotine, the only person in that position is the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) who, throughout the period in which he was a Government Back Bencher, honourably opposed Government guillotines. As the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) rashly spoke about Jekyll and Hyde and people saying one thing and doing another, I must point out that what I said about the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills does not apply to him, the right hon. Member for, famously, Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth), the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Sir N. Lyell), the right hon. Members for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) and for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis), and the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young), the shadow Leader of the House.

Those Members, when Ministers or Back Benchers in the previous Government, all voted for guillotine motions, including that on the Football Spectators Act 1989 which was debated exactly 11 years ago today. I have refreshed my memory on that debate but, for those right hon. and hon. Members who have not, the case for guillotining that Bill was much less urgent than the case for guillotining the Bill today.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)

The right hon. Gentleman voted against the Bill.

Mr. Straw

I voted against it. There is something synthetic about the lather worked up by most Members on guillotine motions, although I except those such as the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills who have a principled position that they maintain through thick and thin.

I shall cherish the reply of the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst who is on the record as saying that he always opposed guillotines. When I put to him the fact that "always" was subject to Clintonesque qualification and that he voted in favour of the guillotine on the Football Spectators Act, he explained that he was in government then. The right hon. Gentleman had a strong principle against guillotines, but another principle collided with that, namely the principle that he wished to carry on collecting the Queen's shilling as a Minister.

Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and The Weald)

May I ask the Home Secretary to be terribly specific and, instead of making a general defence of guillotine motions, address himself specifically to this guillotine motion? Will he tell us what circumstance makes the curtailment of debate necessary, when he received all the necessary assurances and when there was not a single indication on Second Reading to suggest that there would be any undue delay? Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) took up precisely five minutes of Second Reading. No previous indication was given in any business statement that there was going to be a guillotine. What is the justification for this guillotine?

Mr. Straw

The justification is straightforward, as the right hon. Lady knows. The record of the Conservative Opposition is that, whatever they say, they cannot deliver undertakings that they make to the House. The right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire implicitly accepted that when he said that, in seeking an informal arrangement not bound by a guillotine motion, the Opposition were reasonably confident of delivering a timetable. We have Government business tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and at this stage, especially in July, any Government must not be "reasonably confident" of having its business delivered, but certain. I remind the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald that the shambles of the Opposition is such that, earlier this year, maverick action by her own Back Benchers meant that they shot themselves in the foot by preventing Prime Minister's questions from taking place and by causing the abandonment of two Opposition debates.

There is no point the right hon. Lady shaking her head, as that is the truth. Given the fact the Opposition can wreck their own business with that kind of maverick action, they could wreck Government business more easily still. What the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire, as shadow Leader of the House, said about a communications failure treads delicately over the events that took place. I was present at some of the discussions and the right hon. Gentleman knows very well that, had there been a cast-iron guarantee that the Opposition would deliver the business tonight and to which every other Member of the House was bound, we would, of course, happily have proceeded by agreement. However, having been a Minister in the previous Government, the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald knows only too well the imperatives on Government and the need for Government to get their business—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

Order. We cannot have the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) shouting across the Chamber. She has had a very good innings and made an intervention.

Mr. Straw

I turn now to some of the other matters that have been raised.

Mr. Maclennan

In response to the right hon. Lady's intervention, the Home Secretary made the case for having a guillotine motion, but not for having this guillotine motion. Surely the argument is not so much about guillotines—the Government may be right to say that they must complete their business before the House rises—but about whether we should continue the debate right through tonight.

Mr. Straw

I do not believe that all legislation should be guillotined, and I recognise that the fact that most legislation is not guillotined is an important safeguard for the rights of Back Benchers, whether they are on the Government or the Opposition Benches. However, for reasons that I have already explained, I think that it is necessary to complete this business tonight so that it can go to the other place. That, I understand, is what has been agreed between the business managers.

I shall deal now with the other points raised in the debate because it is important that I sit down by 6.35 pm so that any votes can take place and the House then has a full opportunity to debate the amendments. The right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden made the interesting observation that hasty legislation was bad and that legislation on which there had been insufficient conflict also turned out to be bad. I happen to agree with him on the latter point. It would be interesting if one of the House Committees examined whether all legislation that had been put through the House with some speed has turned out to be bad legislation, although I do not think that that is the case. Governments of both parties sometimes have to pass legislation quickly. I had that duty in September 1998 in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing, and I believe that it was appropriate to pass that legislation and that there is nothing defective about it, although people may have argued about its merits.

I am in no doubt that the legislation that is most likely to be defective is not that which has been dealt with speedily, but that on which there has been no argument. I can think of several pieces of legislation during the previous Government and earlier Governments on which there was a broad consensus, and we repented in leisure about the fact that there was no engagement about the detail in Committee or on the Floor of the House.

In this case we are proceeding with greater speed than I would wish for in a perfect world, but one of the benefits of that, not only in the process that I have sought to adopt outside the House, but inside the House, is that there is a real engagement on the key issues and, to some extent, a greater engagement than would have been the case if the Bill had proceeded at a normal pace.

Mr. David Davis

Will the Home Secretary explain exactly why he could not separate the Committee and Report stages and meet the point, made by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) that we could get the Bill through the Lords and back again in this Session?

Mr. Straw

That was discussed and determined by the business managers, and I understand that there was anxiety that if we did as the right hon. Gentleman suggests, there would not be enough time to have the Bill printed and sent to their Lordships' House by Thursday. If there is any change to that, I will ensure that it is put on the record later in the debate.

The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) said that the legislation was always foreseeable, and that point was also made by the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale). As the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) noted, three of the four measures in the Bill were perfectly foreseeable—so much so that they have been discussed at great length in the past. That ought to reassure the House. As the whole House has accepted, the first two measures are nothing more than a compression of the domestic and international banning orders on which there has been almost no disagreement in our debates or in earlier debates on the consultation papers.

The third measure relates to the football banning order, and here I make another observation sparked by the remarks of the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden. As the hon. Member for West Chelmsford pointed out, 15 months ago we published a consultation paper about a football banning order that was not exactly the same as, but similar in concept and structure to the one in the Bill. One thing that I have learned since becoming a Minister is that one can publish as many consultation documents as one likes, but it is not until there is legislation before the House that—

Mr. Simon Hughes

Everybody wakes up.

Mr. Straw

As the hon. Gentleman says, everybody wakes up. One can try to spray on people's faces what one is proposing, but it is not until the legislation comes before the House that people begin to wake up. None the less, if one does consult, as we did 15 months ago, people are given notice and can start putting forward their ideas. We have not suddenly thought of banning orders; the idea has been around for a long time and has been the subject of discussion for a long time.

On the fourth element, the hon. Gentleman was simply wrong to say that the legislation was foreseeable. In the abstract, one could have foreseen our taking the powers that I propose should be taken under proposed new sections 14 and 21C in schedule 1. However, in advance of the trouble in Charleroi and Brussels, it was broadly accepted and I made it clear that such powers would be disproportionate. Our judgment was that those powers were not needed because all the advice that we had received was that our existing powers were likely to prove sufficient to deal with the problem.

Circumstances have changed and, to paraphrase John Maynard Keynes, if circumstances change, it is a good idea to change with them. As I argued extensively last Thursday, I have sought to make it clear that in addition to the hard core of known hooligans, against which there is pretty effective police and legislative action, we must deal with the new dimension that we saw in Charleroi and Brussels—the considerable proportion of people who turn out to have records for violence and disorder in general but not for football-related violence and disorder. That is why it is nonsense to say that the fourth element of the Bill was foreseeable.

Mr. Hughes

We do not disagree about that. I have never argued that the fourth proposal, on summary detention, was foreseeable. However, it was foreseeable that we would have a football-related Bill, so the Government cannot refute the argument for introducing it earlier in the year, when it might have been amended or expanded. When three of the four measures were always predictable, it is not defensible for them to bring the Bill to the House two and a half weeks before the recess.

Mr. Straw

I have already made it clear to the House about 15 times that I would have preferred the powers relating to the banning order to be included in the legislation introduced by the hon. Member for West Chelmsford. We have been over the history of that, and there is no argument about that. It must be said, however, that the advice that we received, which I transmitted to the House, was that there was a general belief that the existing powers were likely to prove satisfactory to deal with known hooligans, and indeed they did. They did not prove satisfactory to deal with an emerging and substantial problem.

The right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) said that he thought that there might be a loophole in the Bill because it did not cover Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whether we take the Bill through the House slowly or quickly there will be what he describes as a loophole because Parliament, with his full approval, has legislated to transfer responsibility for the criminal law in Scotland to a Scottish Parliament. It does not matter how much time we take because any criminal law legislation that we pass will be confined to England and Wales and, in certain circumstances, to Northern Ireland.

The right hon. Gentleman asked what is the view of the Scottish Parliament, and I can tell him the Scottish Executive's view. They do not at present see any need to bring in legislation parallel to the measures that I am proposing for England and Wales, but they have undertaken to keep the matter under review.

In the meantime, arrangements will be made for the closest possible liaison between police officers north and south of the border to establish whether there is any evidence of people seeking to evade the new controls in the way suggested. We shall also be looking to set up similar contacts with the police force in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.

The right hon. Gentleman's point about the Bill not applying to Scotland extends to the Republic of Ireland, where we have had no legislative authority since 1921—and quite right too. However, as it is part of the common travel area, it is possible for someone to seek to evade the controls by travelling to Dublin without a passport, because none is needed, and then travelling elsewhere.

The point is that there is no legislation anywhere in the world that can eliminate all criminal behaviour. The question is whether legislation will better control that criminal behaviour. The judgment that the Bill will do so carries the approbation of the House. Just because one cannot do everything—in this case ensure that the legislation extends to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland—should not mean that one should not do anything. In other words, we should legislate for the serious site of the problem: England and Wales.

I believe that there is adequate time for debating the details of the Bill in this House and the other place. [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald squeaks at that proposition and seeks to raise objections to it, but I remind her of the extraordinary position into which the Conservative Opposition have got themselves. Before the end of the tournament in Netherlands and Belgium, her right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was calling for legislation to be brought forward and dealt with immediately.

Miss Widdecombe


Mr. Straw

The right hon. Lady says yes. Had such legislation been brought forward straight away, aside from the fact that it is extraordinarily difficult to envisage how it could have operated effectively in a matter of days, one thing is absolutely certain: it could not conceivably have received the care and attention that has been devoted to this Bill on this occasion—[Interruption.] It is no good other Opposition Members squawking at this stage. That was the Leader of the Opposition's proposition.

Miss Widdecombe

Will the Home Secretary give way?

Mr. Straw

No, I am about to finish.

Before the right hon. Lady starts to quibble about the time that has been allocated under the guillotine motion, she needs to remind herself of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition in Bradford on 22 June. He said: I say the time to act is right now, for England's qualifying matches, for the next World Cup are only months away. That is why I am making this important offer to the Prime Minister. He did not use the word "guarantee", but he might have done— The Conservative party will give our full support and co-operation in Parliament to Government legislation that will stop known hooligans from travelling to football matches abroad, extend the restrictions on international matches, give consideration to increasing the severity of punishments. Other European countries have shown that tough measures and a clear political will can win the battle against hooligans. That is what he said, that is what we are delivering and that is what we expect the Conservative Opposition to deliver with us—for that is the guarantee that the Leader of the Opposition gave on this legislation.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: in paragraph 1(4), leave out from "Consideration" to end of paragraph 1(5) and insert— and on Third Reading shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 5 am on 18th July.—[Sir G. Young.]

Main Question, as amended, put:—

The House divided: Ayes 281, Noes 56.

Division No. 269] [6.35 pm
Ainger, Nick Colman, Tony
Alexander, Douglas Connarty, Michael
Allen, Graham Corbett, Robin
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Corston, Jean
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Cousins, Jim
Ashton, Joe Cox, Tom
Atkins, Charlotte Cranston, Ross
Banks, Tony Crausby, David
Barnes, Harry Cummings, John
Barron, Kevin Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Beard, Nigel Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Dalyell, Tam
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Darvill, Keith
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Berry, Roger Davidson, Ian
Best, Harold Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Betts, Clive Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Blackman, Liz Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Dawson, Hilton
Borrow, David Dean, Mrs Janet
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Denham, John
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Dismore, Andrew
Bradshaw, Ben Dobbin, Jim
Brinton, Mrs Helen Doran, Frank
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Dowd, Jim
Browne, Desmond Drew, David
Buck, Ms Karen Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Burden, Richard Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Burgon, Colin Edwards, Huw
Butler, Mrs Christine Efford, Clive
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Ellman, Mrs Louise
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Field, Rt Hon Frank
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Fisher, Mark
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Fitzpatrick, Jim
Campbell-Savours, Dale Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Cann, Jamie Follett, Barbara
Caplin, Ivor Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Casale, Roger Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Galloway, George
Chisholm, Malcolm Gerrard, Neil
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Gibson, Dr Ian
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Godsiff, Roger
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Goggins, Paul
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Golding, Mrs Llin
Clelland, David Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Clwyd, Ann Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Coaker, Vernon Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Coffey, Ms Ann Grocott, Bruce
Cohen, Harry Grogan, John
Coleman, lain Gunnell, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Miller, Andrew
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Mitchell, Austin
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hanson, David Moran, Ms Margaret
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Mountford, Kali
Hepburn, Stephen Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Heppell, John Mullin, Chris
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Hinchliffe, David Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hoey, Kate Naysmith, Dr Doug
Hope, Phil Olner, Bill
Hopkins, Kelvin O'Neill, Martin
Howells, Dr Kim Organ, Mrs Diana
Hoyle, Lindsay Palmer, Dr Nick
Humble, Mrs Joan Pearson, Ian
Hurst, Alan Pickthall, Colin
Hutton, John Plaskitt, James
Iddon, Dr Brian Pollard, Kerry
Illsley, Eric Pond, Chris
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Pope, Greg
Jamieson, David Pound, Stephen
Jenkins, Brian Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Primarolo, Dawn
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Prosser, Gwyn
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Purchase, Ken
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Quinn, Lawrie
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Rammell, Bill
Keeble, Ms Sally Rapson, Syd
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Kemp, Fraser Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Roche, Mrs Barbara
Khabra, Piara S Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Kidney, David Rooney, Terry
Kilfoyle, Peter Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Rowlands, Ted
Kumar, Dr Ashok Roy, Frank
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Ruane, Chris
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Ruddock, Joan
Laxton, Bob Ryan, Ms Joan
Lepper, David Salter, Martin
Leslie, Christopher Sarwar, Mohammad
Levitt, Tom Sedgemore, Brian
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Shaw, Jonathan
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Sheerman, Barry
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Linton, Martin Short, Rt Hon Clare
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Skinner, Dennis
Love, Andrew Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McAvoy, Thomas Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Soley, Clive
Macdonald, Calum Southworth, Ms Helen
McDonnell, John Spellar, John
McFall, John Squire, Ms Rachel
McGuire, Mrs Anne Starkey, Dr Phyllis
McIsaac, Shona Steinberg, Gerry
Mackinlay, Andrew Stevenson, George
McNamara, Kevin Stewart, David (Inverness E)
McNulty, Tony Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mactaggart, Fiona Stinchcombe, Paul
McWalter, Tony Stoate, Dr Howard
McWilliam, John Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Stringer, Graham
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Stuart, Ms Gisela
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Merron, Gillian Temple-Morris, Peter
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen Watts, David
Tipping, Paddy Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Todd, Mark
Trickett, Jon Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Truswell, Paul Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Winnick, David
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Woolas, Phil
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Worthington, Tony
Twigg, Derek (Halton) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Vaz, Keith Wyatt, Derek
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan Tellers for the Ayes:
Ward, Ms Claire Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Wareing, Robert N Mr. Robert Ainsworth.
Allan, Richard Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Baker, Norman Keetch, Paul
Ballard, Jackie Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Kirkwood, Archy
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Leigh, Edward
Brand, Dr Peter Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Livsey, Richard
Burnett, John Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Burstow, Paul Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Cable, Dr Vincent Moore, Michael
Chidgey, David Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Chope, Christopher Oaten, Mark
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Öpik, Lembit
Rendel, David
Corbyn, Jeremy Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Cotter, Brian Sanders, Adrian
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Shepherd, Richard
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Stunell, Andrew
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Fearn, Ronnie Tonge, Dr Jenny
Townend, John
Flynn, Paul Tyler, Paul
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Webb, Steve
Foster, Don (Bath) Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Gale, Roger Wilkinson, John
Gummer, Rt Hon John Willis, Phil
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan Tellers for the Noes:
Harvey, Nick Mr. Donald Gorrie and
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Mr. Tom Brake.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Football (Disorder) Bill:—